Can You Tow It Behind a Motorhome? - 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Jeep Cherokee: Can You Tow It Behind a Motorhome?

August 14, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee

I know. I'm not fooling anyone. The vehicle under the photo-shopped tarp is a Geo Tracker, not a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. But the question is a good one nonetheless. Can you tow a 2014 Jeep Cherokee behind a motorhome?

After all, the new Cherokee is a great vehicle for the RV crowd. It's light and easy to tow. It's not terribly expensive. It's comfortable to drive. It's not a total gas hog. And certain versions (I'm looking at you, Trailhawk) are surprisingly capable when it comes to off-road exploring near the campsite.

A trailer will work, obviously. But four-down "dinghy" towing is the Holy Grail here. It's the preferred method for those who spend a lot of time in their motorhomes. Trailers are a pain in the you-know-what and your typical two-wheeled tow dolly isn't much better.

So can you pull a 2014 Jeep Cherokee behind your motorhome?

The answer: Yes, but...

Our particular 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 can't, but other 4x4 versions can be towed with the full blessing of Jeep's engineering team.

That's because there are three 4x4 systems available on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Our example has the standard Active Drive I system, which offers 4-wheel drive with a Selec-Terrain dial that alters the torque split, throttle sensitivity and traction control slip settings to match the driver's need for a particular condition. This alone gives the 2014 Jeep Cherokee more 4x4 sophistication than the compact SUVs it competes against.

But Active Drive I lacks one essential ingredient for dinghy towing: a low-range transfer case. This feature doesn't merely gear down the output of the transmission to enable low speed crawling. It also provides a neutral position that allows the wheels and tires to rotate in complete isolation from the 9-speed transmission and the engine. That's what you need to tow a 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 with four wheels down.

And that's what you get if you opt for Active Drive II, which goes by the option code DFJ. It's largely the same as the standard Active Drive I 4x4 setup, but with an added low-range transfer case that contains the essential neutral towing position. Active Drive II is a $995 option on the Latitude and Limited models. It's not available on the Sport.

The third Cherokee 4x4 system is Active Drive Lock, which is the same as Active Drive II with an added rear locking differential for more serious off-road work. The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk comes standard with this setup, and it's not available on any of the others.

To sum up, all Cherokee Trailhawks are towable behind an RV, and a Cherokee Latitude or Limited 4x4 can be if they are fitted with the optional Active Drive II 4x4 system.

Our particular Limited 4x4 is not towable because it has the standard Active Drive I 4x4 system. And none of the 4x2 versions can be dragged behind an RV because there's no way to keep their tires from back-driving the internal bits of the 9-speed transmission.

It seems counterintuitive, but you tow with an Active Drive II or Active Drive Lock 4x4 systems after placing the transmission in Park, but not before first putting the transfer case in neutral. The procedure is outlined in the Jeep Cherokee owner's manual in the "Utility" section near the back. Make sure you read it and follow along carefully. Doing it wrong could be expensive.

With the right equipment, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is easily towable behind an RV on its own four tires. And it's just about perfect for the job in a lot of other respects. It wouldn't surprise us if the new Cherokee became the new favorite of the motorhome tourist set.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,823 miles


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